In his latest novel, Running with Mother, Christopher Mlalazi writes about events in Zimbabwe’s history that are still to a great extent shrouded in silence – the Gukurahundi killings of the 1980s. During this time, the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade killed thousands of Ndebele civilians.
Running with Mother is narrated by 14 year old Rudo who, together with her mother, aunt and cousin, survives the onslaught on her village. Warscapes shared an extract from the book:
Mother and Auntie are always arguing, especially when Auntie is drunk. I think, sometimes, that they don’t like each other. When Auntie is drunk she often assumes a superior attitude and says mother and I are rat-eating people. Mother never argues but just tells her quietly that Shona people do not eat rats, only mice, and they are delicious.
I remember one day when I was at primary school, father had caught a mouse in a trap in our maize field and mother had roasted it on a fire. We’d eaten the small rodent, all three of us sharing it, and it had tasted just like roast chicken. I’d asked father if we couldn’t catch more mice and have them for supper at home, and father had laughed and said, ‘Do you want Auntie to call us rat-eaters?’
- Running with Mother by Christopher Mlalazi
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Image courtesy HAZ